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Michalis Karaolis (1934-1956) was born in the village of Palechori of Pitsilia, Cyprus. He was a government clerk and a member of EOKA. He was the first to be sentenced to death and hanged alongside Andreas Dimitriou on May 10, 1956.[1]

On August 28, 1955 he carried out the public murder of P.C. Michael Poullis, a Cypriot police officer, of the Special Branch who had been spying on the Nicosia groups of EOKA and interfering with their work. The assassination was carried out in broad daylight whilst P.C. Poullis was on duty at an AKEL meeting at the Ledra Palace.[2]

Karaolis was captured on his way to meet Grigoris Afxentiou's guerillas in the Kyrenia mountains, following General George Grivas' orders.[3]

Field Marshal Harding chose to announce Karaolis death sentence on October 28, an important Greek national holiday marking the refusal of Greece to surrender to the Axis Powers in the Second World War, and that hugely inflamed public feeling.[4]

He was 22 years old when he was executed for the murder of P.C. Poullis and buried in the Imprisoned Graves in the Central Jail of Nicosia.[5]

The hangings were condemned internationally and caused serious demonstrations and unrest in Greece. The Athens police failed to suppress a huge demonstration and a riot developed in which 7 people were killed and 200 people were injured. The Mayor of Athens protested by taking a hammer to a commemorative marble plaque dedicated in honor of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip while a crowd cheered and applauded and there were many more similar scenes in Greece.[6]


  1. Grivas (1964) p. 71
  2. Grivas (1964) p. 42
  3. Grivas (1964) p. 42
  4. Grivas (1964) p. 50
  5. Grivas (1964) p. 71
  6. Grivas (1964) p. 72


  • The Memoirs of General Grivas, by General Grivas, edited by Charles Foley. Longman. London. 1964
  • CYPRUS: Deepening Tragedy, Time Magazine, Monday, May. 21, 1956.

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